JULIA HANSEN, FOUNDER
Julia considers herself a fearless learner. Trying to make a difference in this hectic, yet beautiful world energizes her. She loves diving into the unknown and finding the constellations of small details that make up people's’ lives. During Julia’s sophomore year of high school, she lost her two closest friends to suicide. While struggling with her own of depression, she was faced with how to cope with the loss of these two incredible people in her life. She experienced great darkness and sadness, but always was and still is able to find the beauty in the world. Because of this, she created The Yellow Tulip Project, which is meant to smash the stigma associated with mental illness, and remind people that even in the darkest places, there really is always hope. This is a message she hopes to spread so no one ever has to feel alone.
SUZANNE FOX, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Suzanne knew little about mental illness until the summer day in 2015 when her daughter Julia told her that she was depressed. Soon after everything turned upside down with the back to back suicides of her daughter’s two best friends. Suzanne is passionate about community building and is fiercely dedicated to positive change and so that people know that there is help and hope out there. She believes in the simple and compelling message of the YTP and wants it to spread to schools and communities far and wide so that people know that things will get better and that suicide should never be an option. Suzanne is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at the University of New England with a focus on global mental health and stigma reduction across cultures.
Stefanie Fairchild, Treasurer
Stefanie believes we need better access to mental health services and wants to promote discussion about mental illness, free of stigma, shame or fear. We need to be able to talk about mental illness just like any other illness. Stefanie lost her husband to suicide in 2017. YTP has been a wonderful support to her and she is thankful for its message of hope.
Nate Hansen, Secretary
Originally from the state of Maine, Nate Hansen attended Stanford University in California. He graduated from Stanford University in June 2018 with a B.S. degree in Neurobiology with honors, as well as a minor degree in Creative Writing. As an undergraduate, Nate worked in two laboratories, led an emergency medicine volunteering nonprofit organization, and served as both a resident and teaching assistant. From 2018 until June 2019 he will be pursuing Fulbright-supported mental health research in Yellowknife, the capital and only major city in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Nate is passionate about smashing the stigma surrounding mental illness, removing barriers to care that prevent people from getting the treatment they need, and inspiring hope in people and communities.
Raffi Der Simonian
Raffi Der Simonian brings a wealth of marketing and communications expertise within a range of industries. Prior to serving as Director of Marketing & Communications at Maine College of Art (‘12-’18), his professional experience includes leading marketing efforts for a range of industries and institutions including The Royal Festival Hall in London, Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island, Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises, Becker College, and a various other academic institutions. He is founder and principal of Der Simonian LLC, a boutique marketing firm that specializes in the orchestration of large-scale initiatives that require strategy, creativity and technology.
He has also served in leadership positions for the Worcester Arts Council, Maine Academy of Modern Music, FORK Food Labs, The Armenian Cultural Association of Maine, Maine Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Portland Downtown Marketing Committee, Portland Bach Experience and Creative Portland.
Der Simonian received his graduate degree in professional marketing and communications Since receiving his graduate degree from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He enjoys tennis, sailing, outdoor adventure, live music, and promoting all the finer things Portland has to offer. He lives in Portland with his wife, Caitlin.
A lifelong resident of Maine, John considers himself lucky to call Cape Elizabeth home. After going through the Portland school system, John decided to stay home and attend the Portland School of Art (now the Maine College of Art). He worked for Artforms for many years before transitioning to medical sales, and has spent the last ten years with Baxter Medical Corporation. If John is not with his family, he may be running with friends or trying to win a poker tournament. John has a strong commitment to his community, and has been involved with several charities and volunteering opportunities. A lifelong blood donor, John recently became a living donor by donating his kidney in a non directed chain that involved 6 people, 3 donor and 3 recipients. He learned of the yellow tulip project after his daughters heard a Ted Talk at their high school. After learning of the hope the yellow tulip project brought to people struggling to find their voice, John related to their message and asked to be involved. John finds hope in the simple gestures of kindness he sees everyday.
Margie is a 30+ year veteran of the marketing/pr/branding/communications biz. Her career has included a 15 year run at the helm of the eponymous and award-winning Maloney + Fox agency, stints as US creative director/managing director at Ogilvy PR, and global creative director at Devries Global. Her eclectic client list includes the likes of Microsoft, Tupperware, Shutterfly, Mercedes, Ford, Amazon, Hendrick’s Gin, The Balvenie and Glenfiddich. She currently consults with a panoply of businesses on almost every aspect of conceivable and effective strategic and creative initiatives. In off hours — she focuses on her side hustle, fitz+hen (fitzandhen.com) — a quirky, cute, affordable jewelry line that celebrates the sisterhood of women, and the men who love them. Margie has been involved in the Yellow Tulip Project from day one — experiencing first hand the devastation/sadness and ultimately hope when people come together to band against the stigma of talking about mental illness and depression. With her powerful sister Suzanne, and uber-remarkable niece she has learned a vast amount more — and is committed to help the organization make a difference on a daily, and national basis.
Alison Ingalls, President of YTP Ambassador Network
Alison is a Senior at Cape Elizabeth High School. She is an active YTP Ambassador at her school and the community at large . She’s a part of Seeds of Peace and founder of Club Unify at CEHS - a club for students of all abilities. She is a 2 year captain of her basketball team and President of the CEHS Class of 2019. Her first connection with YTP was hearing Julia’s December 2016 TEDx talk titled “Hope Happens” at her school. The message of hope that Julia shared soon resonated even stronger in subsequent months as Alison began to experience her own struggle with mental illness. Alison has embraced the YTP spirit of kindness and community, reinforcing her positive message of inclusion and hope. She is a firm believer and active participant in the premise, “when you start a conversation, others will follow” and wants to do all she can to support YTP’s mission and growth.
Mary McElman- Wisconsin
Mari Anderson — Minnesota
Woods Fairchild- Arizona
Kristen Kimball — Vermont
Alison Vest — Virginia, Washington D.C.